Tuesday, September 25, 2018 9:14 pm
The Nigerian women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, recorded their second-straight win at the ongoing FIBA Women’s World Cup with a hard-fought 75-70 victory over Argentina in Spain on Tuesday.
The keenly contested game, which was played at the San Cristobal de la Laguna, Tenerife, saw the Nigerian side take the first quarter 19-13.
The Argentines, who before the match against Nigeria were defeated in their first two games against Turkey and Australia, showed some intent in the second quarter with a 16-13 edge over D’Tigress.
Both sides battled hard in the third quarter and D’Tigress found their South American opponents a hard nut to crack as they settled for a 19-19 tie.
D’Tigress were fighting for a chance to clinch second place in Group B, which also comprises group leaders Australia and Turkey.
Both teams then went to the final quarter and that was where D’Tigress kept their nerve to win the quarter 24-22.
Argentina were no doubt playing their best game of the tournament against D’Tigress, and even took the lead at some point in the final quarter.
However, it was D’Tigress who stepped up their game and put up some brilliant defensive performance in the final four minutes against a desperate opponent.
The game against Turkey had Sarah Ogoke as Nigeria’s top performer, but it was Promise Amukamara who stepped up this time with a team-high 16 points.
Aisha Mohammed and Ezinne Kalu followed with 12 apiece.
Melisa Gretter scored a game-high 21 points for Argentina.
Coach Otis Hughley, while commending his players’ resilience, said after the game: “These players have got resolve and I have got no idea where they are digging that out from to win another close game.
“They have no reference point at this kind of level to have taken it from. That was unbelievable and there is no coaching at this point with this team.
“These kids of mine just went out, played hard and made plays again when they needed to.”
D’Tigress guard, Ezinne Kalu, also said their victory was a sweet experience.
“It feels good off the back of making history with our first win against Turkey to have now followed it up by beating Argentina.
“We’re working hard and staying focused. It is exciting for us making more and more history with a team that is very closely bonded together and we want to continue on this journey for longer,” she assured.
As second-placed team in Group B, Nigeria will now face Greece in the quarter final qualifications, and the winner of that one game will meet the USA in the quarter-finals.
Group leaders Australia secured automatic quarterfinal qualification.
The match between Nigeria and Greece is scheduled for Wednesday.